We love to cruise. In August, we did an extended family cruise out of San Francisco to Alaska on the Grand Princess. From the excitement of sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge as the captain gave a long blast of the ship’s sonorous horn, to the bedlam of the balloon-drop party on the last night, it was a restful/exciting/active vacation that I’ll remember for a long time.
So why do we still encounter some who avoid ships? Perhaps you can identify with one of these common objections:
I don’t want to stand in a long buffet line just to get mediocre food. Well, that one went out of date with the last century. Sure, buffets are still around, but you could enjoy sit-down restaurant service for every meal if you so choose. Competition among cruise lines is intense, and it’s especially noticeable in the food service. We always had dinner together at our reserved table, but family members chose their own time and place for other meals. Karen and I liked to have lunch at a “shared” restaurant table, where we chatted with new friends while enjoying great service.
And if you have a special dietary need, the head waiter will even take your next day’s meal selection and see that it’s prepared to your satisfaction. Most ships now also offer fine-dining specialty restaurants for an additional cost, many inspired by famous chefs. If you’d rather eat on the go, look for a pizza counter or burger stand out on the deck.
I’d hate having so many days at sea with nothing to do. As soon as you see the first daily activity calendar that’s delivered to your room, you’ll realize that there’s a great deal happening on board. Do leave room in your schedule to visit the extensive gym or the luxurious spa.
I took in every naturalist lecture on wildlife and glaciers. In the evening we loved listening to the piano man who seemed to know every number that was requested. I’ve been on ships with climbing walls, wave riders, miniature golf courses, ice skating rinks, and ropes courses (not to mention the ubiquitous pools, casinos, and art galleries). The scramble for a wow-factor has led to cruise lines claiming that the ship itself is the destination.
Entertainment abounds. Broadway-style shows are standard on most big ships. So are a variety of comics, musicians, magicians and themed parties. Some even show movies on big outdoor screens. The myth of having nothing to do was busted long ago. If a quiet spot is more your style, try the ship library.
Cruises are full of old people and noisy kids. While the age demographic can be skewed somewhat to the upper end on some ships, it’s not true on others. However, we seniors are an active and interesting bunch on any ship!!
Some ships do attract more kids, and they provide kids clubs with age-appropriate club rooms for them to play and hang out. Many ships have adult-only areas, so you can be assured of a place to swim or relax in relative peace. If you prefer a vacation relatively free of kids, there are great choices for cruising outside of major school-holiday times. There are also a few cruise lines that do not permit children..
There are many cruise options available, and we are here to use our extensive cruise experience to help you. When you describe what you want your ideal cruise to look like, we will do our best to match you with the right cruise at the right time with the best itinerary for you. Happy cruising!